The distribution of palliative items across the area councils of the FCT has continued as Gwagwalada rounds up its sharing, over the weekend, leaving Bwari and AMAC as the only remaining area councils to receive their share of the palliatives.
Say No Campaign has observed closely the process of distributions in the three area councils and also in Gwagwalada. From our reports the challenges of social distancing continues to rare it’s ugly head throughout the process of distribution. Efforts to avoid crowd by carrying out house to house distribution was unsustainable in most area councils, especially Gwagwalada central, where community members cluster in open fields, scrambling for a share of the palliative items.
Another issue of concern was the suspicious innovation in the distribution exercise, introduced by the gwagwalada area council, where it issues a certain ‘selection pass’ that automatically qualifies the holder to receive a share of the palliative items when tendered. While the purpose of this novel idea is unclear, community members did accuse the leadership of the area councils, distribution officials and traditional leaders of hoarding the limited ‘selection pass’ and rewarding their loyalists with them while deliberately shutting out majority of the community members who for no faults of theirs did not get the said pass.
In fact, we gathered that the pass was shared at night between the hours of 8 and 9:00 pm, on Saturday, a day before the end of the distribution exercise in gwagwalada. Priority was not given to the vulnerable or less privileged as intended.
Certain questions that bug the mind are: why the area council had failed to map out transparent and fair strategy of distribution? Why couldn’t the area council stick to it’s house to house distribution as exemplified during the flag off a day ago? Why aren’t efforts made to properly identify the most vulnerable and make the delivery to them?
It is unfortunate that with the strategy employed, the purpose for the palliatives might be defeated if majority of those who truly need them were left out because some persons were privileged enough to collect over 10 ‘selection pass’ and share to their friends and relatives who might not need them.
We are therefore calling on the FCTA to pay much attention to these issues of lack of transparency and accountability and closely monitor the distribution of these items by area council leadership, including the councilors, ward heads and distribution officials. It does not matter how much is committed in providing a little relief or succor for the most vulnerable in this trying times, it will constitute a waste if these relief materials ends up in the store room of the more fortunate.
We are also demanding that the remaining area councils adhere to the beneficiary lists earlier compiled and if the list is exhausted during distribution, the scope can be expanded, by this we will ensure no vulnerable member of the community is exempted from benefiting from the packages.
We also call on the leadership of the two remaining area council to imbibe the principle of transparency, accountability and fairness, in ensuring that they meet the expectations of their community members.
Similarly, it is important that social distancing be exemplified and sustained throughout the exercise. If only done for the cameras, we run the risk of defeating the purpose of the lockdown in the first place.
We will continue to monitor the process as we wish AMAC and Bwari a better distribution exercise.
Co convener Say No Campaign